Why Do People Get Angry and How To Handle It
"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." Buddha
Anger is but a reaction to being hurt, to having your expectations disappointed. It is a defense mechanism of the ego in times of threat.
Whatever the spark, anger is an overpowering, sometimes debilitating emotional response to a situation not turning out to be what you would like.
I’m sure you too have been angry at some point in your life. Anger is a very human emotion.
I do not think someone can go an entire lifetime without once flaring up at something or someone.
In daily life, it manifests as road rage at the driver who just cut you up, as a screaming match with your partner, as an altercation with your children, or multiple other mild or harsh scenarios.
Of course, we all know that anger can be detrimental.
Physical violence, verbal abuse, high stress, a lack of judgment – anger has multiple disadvantages. Whenever the effects of anger are directed in violence towards others or one’s self, anger is undesirable.
But does it have any advantages? I think it does. I think anger comes in handy as a means of protection.
That having said, it is better to find a vehicle that is not another person to channel your anger. This is much more conducive to inner peace than keeping anger pent up inside or directing it at others.
The Story of the Student, the Coffin and Nails!
I recall a story of a Wise Master. He asked one of his students to hammer a metal nail into a wooden coffin each time he got angry. The student obeyed and each time he found himself flaring up, he would beat a nail into the coffin. After a few weeks, the coffin was covered in nails. The student approached the Wise Master with the coffin, showing him how entirely it had been blanketed in the metal spokes.
Then, the Wise Master instructed the student to remove one nail for every time he showed forgiveness and forgave himself. The student followed these instructions and after many weeks, the coffin was free of nails. The student once again approached the Wise Master with the coffin, this time to show him how entirely it was covered in holes.
“How do you feel,” asked the Wise Master to the student. “I feel much lighter,” the student replied. “But you see,” said the Wise Master, “the coffin still has holes. Each time you were angry, you broke the coffin a little. Now that you have forgiven yourself, the coffin is no longer hurting; yet, its wounds still stay.”
Anger leaves an indelible mark. No matter how sorry you are, the scars of your actions will still remain. This is why prevention is better than cure.
It is better to stop one’s self from getting angry in the first place rather than making amends after getting angry. This is no easy task but a challenge.
One of the best ways to conquer this challenge is through a practice called ‘Inner work’ that is part of The Journey program; The Journey is an incredible program to release deep-rooted anger.
In Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), the same exercise, taught during EFT Training, is called ‘Personal Peace’; EFT is the ideal tool to manage anger on a day-to-day basis. These are one of the best anger management procedures I have come across.
Personal Peace Process with Emotional Freedom Techniques.
In this exercise, you daily pick an issue unrelated to anger. Begin by concentrating on this issue and use the "Tapping process" to heal the emotional blocks that lead to the problem in the first place.
By releasing these inhibitions, you reduce your requirement for attention and importance. You give up your expectations of people acknowledging that you are special or significant, and thus the only person you need to please is yourself.
When you lose your expectations, the necessity for anger subsides automatically. Eventually, by healing one issue a day, you heal enough emotional limitations to be able to manage your anger better.
I have gotten angry many times. I am not proud of it. In the past, I have been angry at those closest to me – my mother, my friends, and my team. Each time, I would judge myself and feel guilty. Each time I regretted it.
But the good thing about regret is that it pushes me to go back to completing the Inner Work/Personal Peace. It is like peeling away an onion, making peace with each layer of your frustration, irritation, and anger.
I notice that in the moments when I love and accept all of me whole-heartedly, there is no place for anger. When I am not held back by my emotions; I am able to handle any situation without expressing anger, irrespective of the opposite person’s behavior or of trying circumstances. I am able to honor myself.
“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.” Maya Angelou
What Can You Do With Others’ Anger?
Match and mirror
When you’re in conflict with someone and are confronted in person, try to respectfully mirror your angry opponent.
Mirror their hand actions, their facial expressions, their posture, their tone, their volume, and all other gestures and non-verbal communication
Very often, an angry individual tries to dominate those with whom they are talking. But mirroring will allow you to establish a rapport.
it will put the both of y’all on a similar footing. This will break the imbalance and you will be in a better position to influence them positively.
Be careful what you say
Have you ever told someone to “calm down” when they’re in a rage?
Don’t they flare up manifold? Studies show that when angry, people tend to be more rebellious (1). The individual’s judgement is suspended and they develop an aversion to obedience.
Thus, if you command them or demand them to do something, their instinctive reaction will be to defy you, to do exactly the opposite of what you say.
However, if you are able to speak carefully with tact and understanding it can diffuse even the most caustic interactions.
When talking to direly angry people, always use your words carefully. You can learn more about our Neuro-Linguistic Programming course that’ll help you communicate effectively with angry, even unresponsive people.
Understand where they are coming from
Resist the temptation to get triggered by another person’s anger and maintain your own balance.
Remain in control, stay composed, and be calm. Take a moment to reflect that they are probably just triggered, hurt, upset, or feeling let down.
Their projection is a defence mechanism and a cry for help.
In that moment, have compassion for them and understand that they are just reacting; it is not about you. In the words of Wayne Dyer, “How I react to you is my Karma and how you react to me, is your Karma."
Be strong within yourself
Remember that the anger is not about you.
It's about the person in whom the anger resides and their feelings. Do not resort to self-blame and guilt. Stay strong in yourself.
Detach yourself from negativity
When you feel intimidated by the individual’s anger, imagine a circle of protection around you. Now, picture even a circle of protection around them.
This is your ‘Infinity Loop’.
What Can You Do When You Get Angry?
Unresolved anger is linked to illness. So better out than in.
1. Find the cause of your anger
It may be caused by frustration, loneliness, exhaustion and fatigue, hunger, or even helplessness.
In my private practice, I frequently find that hurt, a feeling of being let down, perfectionism and failed expectations at the root of anger.
The anger is just a defence mechanism to protect oneself. It's like an inner flight and fight response to feeling threatened.
Only after you’ve found the reason for your anger can you work towards uprooting it by solving its core.
2. Find a quiet space and do the following Tapping exercise:
Tap on the edge of your hand, also known as the Karate Chop, with the index and middle fingers of the other hand.
While doing this, say, “Even though I get angry, frustrated and irritated, I am open to the possibility of loving myself anyway.”
Repeat this till you believe every word you say. Make a conscious effort to try and truly trust the words you are saying.
Another great way to release anger and to increase energy level is the Tantrum Tapping process, which is another powerful technique to release anger. This is a wonderful exercise to teach children and co-workers and has proven to be life-saving.
In Summary, anger is difficult to control…but not impossible! The power to defeat anger is within you, and with the above tips, you can harness this strength. Don’t burn, start your journey to set yourself free from anger!
1. What most people do not know about anger - https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-dance-connection/200912/what-most-people-dont-know-about-anger
Other articles you may be interested in